Growing diabetes in Pakistan: National research groups formed to tackle the issue

Senior physicians of the country have lined up against the growing risk of diabetes in Pakistan as national study groups have been formed to carry out research on diabetes in local settings for better prevention and control of the disease.

The groups, each consisting of five or more senior physicians, were formed in a meeting of the National Diabetes Chapter of Pakistan Society of Internal Medicine (PSIM) held here at the University of Health Sciences (UHS) under the chairmanship of UHS VC and PSIM President Professor Javed Akram under the Pakistan Society of Internal Medicine.

The meeting was attended by a large number of senior physicians from all over Pakistan. Prof Zaman Sheikh, President National Diabetes Chapter, was present in the meeting.

In his address, Prof Javed Akram said that diabetes was spreading like wildfire in Pakistan and about 25pc of the population was suffering from this disease.

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“It is now necessary to bring evidence-based medicine into it through indigenous research so that the disease can be controlled and patients can be treated in a better way”, he said. Prof Javed Akram added that his institute was working to promote a culture of research in the field of medicine.

“To this end, the best physicians from all over the country have come together and we have selected 13 research projects based on the results of which the roots of this disease will be reached and recommendations will be made to the policymakers,” he said.

Prof Javed Akram said that the research done at a local level would be published in national and international journals. Funding for these research projects would be provided by UHS and PSIM. He said that this was the first time that such research was going to be conducted in Pakistan which would surely prove to be a game-changer for the country and its people.

Professor Zaman Sheikh said that based on foreign research, guidelines for controlling diabetes at a local level were not proving to be effective. Later, study groups consisting of senior faculty members of medicine and endocrinology were formed for research on various aspects of diabetes.

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The research group led by Prof Jaida Manzoor will conduct research on the genetic basis of diabetes in children between the ages of ten and eighteen. The study group headed by Professor Zaman Sheikh will research the role of Vitamin D K2 in the management of type 2 diabetes. The group headed by Prof Aftab Mohsin will research the prevalence of diabetes, obesity, and hypertension in the district of Nankana Sahib.

In Sindh, Prof Bikha Ram Devrajani’s group will conduct research on arsenic interferes with insulin secretion in the pancreas. Professor Khurshid Ahmed Khan’s study group will investigate the correlation between HbA1c and the degree of severity of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in diabetic patients in the Pakistani population.

Prof Jamal Zafar’s group will research the effects of diabetes on quality of life. Dr Ibrar Ahmed’s group will study the impact of online diabetes education, counseling, and follow-up (ODEC) to improve treatment adherence of type 2 diabetics in Mardan, KPK.

Besides, Dr Somia Iqtidar, Prof Sajid Abaidullah, Prof Aziz-ur-Rehman, Prof Tariq Wasim, Prof. Shabeen Naz Masood, Prof Faisal Masood Qureshi, Prof Jamal Zafar, Prof Mashoor Alam Shah, Prof AH Aamir, Prof Khalid Shaikh, Prof Rizwan Zafar, and Dr Tariq Mian were present.

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